Sunday, May 20, 2007

Last week of BGIA!

One last sit-in final and one last paper, both due Tuesday, and then I'm pretty much done with BGIA for this semester. Goodbye New York, hello once again summer at Lafayette. I'm actually looking forward to a quiet summer of just working, and trying to get my thesis started. I'll also be helping with the new FAAP microfinance project, DreamsWork!

In all honesty though, I'm writing on my blog right now so I can procrastinate my final IR paper on global warming a threat to global security. So, I'm going to stop here, and get back onto my document. Or maybe I'll check out slashdot first...

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Atari Games back up, New look

So the atari games website is back up (must have been as of today, since I was experiencing downs last night), though it has a completely new look. The java has been upgraded, but it seems the site is much slower. I couldn't get a steady game going, let alone send someone an invite to play Monopoly.

I'll keep checking back and see how it improves, if that.

Back to my 2 pager, then 4 pager, then 14-pager... what an end to a semester.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

games.atari.com down?

So it's one of those all-nighter sort of nights, and I just made myself a fresh bowl of pasta with meat-sauce, and I sit at my computer in the greatest of moods to play online monopoly, only the find my regular site, games.atari.com down!

The front-page of the site works, but once you hit 'play games' (http://games.atari.com/playgames/home.jsp) the page is down. Oh man, this is going to make the news tomorrow. I know there are hundreds who use the site at any moment of any day...

I'm going to sulk now. Maybe youtube has something entertaining...

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Playing the Outsourcing Game

The implication of Globalization's biggest financial offshoot, and what can be done about it
(Submitted for a Journalism class assignment - OpEd piece)

When Alexander Graham Bell's patent for the telephone was granted in 1876, little did he know that it would eventually lead to the emergence of Globalization: A powerful international phenomenon that has paved the path for technological comparative advantage, where countries are now trading based on what they are best-suited to produce. In terms of trading skill, this has become infamously known as outsourcing. A little over a century ago, European nations were scrambling to set up industries in African countries. Now, using mouse-clicks and Skype, the United States' corporate world has most of its operations based in the Asian Tigers like Singapore, India and China, where people are putting in more time for less money.

In the last decade the increasing use of the Internet has taken outsourcing to another level. American workers, particularly in finance and technology sectors, have already begun losing jobs because someone on the other side of the world can afford to work for less. In addition, whopping population growth rates in the Southern Asian region mean that there are more people willing to work for every one U.S worker. The U.S has a labor force of just over 150 million people, compared to China, for example, that has almost 800 million. Yet, the prospect of job-loss seems to be the only shortfall of outsourcing; business is otherwise booming.

BBC correspondent Steve Schifferes reports that Reuters, the world's biggest news agency, hires journalists in Banglore to work the night shift to report financial markets in the U.S. “Most US companies now put out their press releases on the internet, and they all use financial PR firms to release their profit figures just as the stock market opens.”

Software development has also been a key success story for India. Wipro, a Banglore-based software support company, witnessed a 44 percent increase in profits in the first three months of 2007 from providing services to U.S-based companies. “There were no signs that the U.S economy was going to slow down,” adds Wipro chairman Azim Premji. Nevertheless, BBC mentions that “the speed and scale of economic change has made it increasingly difficult for governments to keep their economic destiny in their own hands.”

For such governments, this should have come as no surprise. People talk about skilled labor like its an issue today. Skilled labor was an issue during the industrial revolution. That's old news. There's two things that America needs to wake up to, and before Christmas would be nice. One, the standard of living here in the U.S is higher than in most of its trading partners. Two, there's more that the rest of the world can produce for the U.S than the U.S can produce for the world.

So what's next? Should Americans begin to hold onto their jobs with everything they have, stay longer hours and make better coffee for their bosses? Should they look to other specialized technical or financial fields where the Tigers can't bite?

Neither.

What the world needs now is an influx of American expertise... outside the U.S. What the U.S is better at, compared to their so-called outsource buddies, is corporate management. Let's welcome Outsourcing Phase Two, which really isn't outsourcing, but smart international financial collaboration. If the U.S were to set up shop with the help of their trading partners in less developed countries in Africa and South America, for example, they would not only have more than enough people to train and work; they would also be helping in a strategic phase of providing positions for skilled labor, otherwise known in poorer countries as a decent education.

Everyone is pumping aid into developing countries. But problems with the aid getting to designated projects arise because of corruption and, in some cases, civil conflict. Rarely do we experience the lack of resources or man power in developing countries. Natural resources are abundant, machinery is constantly donated, and people are ready to work. Rather, it is the poor mobilization of these resources and working masses. The U.S would do well in stepping in, not so much to take over such projects, but to assist in their management. China has already begun this in Africa by providing civil engineers to plan urban infrastructural development in Nigeria and Tanzania.

These are not new terms. You and I have heard them, but we've been too caught up in the drama between the East and the West. It's time we stopped shying away from outsourcing and confronted it in a positive and constructive manner. It's time the U.S played its part...in full.

Finally Legal

What a week. And from what a weekend! Turned 21 last Saturday, and I have to say that it was one of the craziest weekends I have had so far this year. Got to spend some good quality time with folks over at Lafayette on Friday night and then did it up bigtime with Aly, Maria and Khati here at PM in New York City on Saturday. Amazing times.

The semester is almost over, and I'm stressing out. I wrap up work at the EastWest Institute next week, but final papers are due for classes, and I have an exam for my IR theory class. It's been quite a semester, and I feel like I'm coming out having learned a lot. But geez... what a semester. When I think about my mood changes, the people I've met, the experiences I've had, that's all I can say - what a semester!

I figured I'd also start posting some of the paper's I've been writing for my Journalism and Human Rights classes. If I look back on the reflections I put in those papers, compared to what I thought about the topics before this semester, I think I'd see some pretty significant changes. It's funny how people's opinions change vastly after they actually sit down to think through what they have an opinion about.

Anyhow, that was the best short update I could do for a lazy night. More updates to follow. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Dell Goes Ubuntu!




"Michael Dell, the founder, chairman and chief executive of Dell, is himself an Ubuntu user. He has the operating system installed on a high-end Dell Precision M90 laptop he uses at home."

Seems like Michael Dell is moving from taking work home, to bringing home to work. Enjoy!